Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)
What is it and how does it work?
Radiofrequency Ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that uses heat to stop the transmission of pain. This procedure requires the use of a specialized device and radiofrequency needles, placed alongside the nerve. A small amount of electrical current is then carefully passed through to make sure the right nerve is being targeted. The RFA uses heat to disrupt the nerve’s ability to send pain signals, lessening the pain felt by the patient. The electrode is heated to 50-80°C and kept at that temperature for about 90 seconds to achieve ablation. Radiofrequency Ablation provides immediate pain relief, decreases the dependence on pain medications, helps avoid surgery and its effect can last anywhere from six months to several years.
How can I get this treatment?
Before an RFA can be performed, a patient must first go through two Medial Branch Blocks (MBBs) to ascertain that the right nerve is being targeted. Once two successful MBBs have been performed and cause the patient to feel reduced pain, an RFA can then be performed.
What conditions can it treat?
RFA is used to treat Axial Low Back Pain. This is facet-mediated pain secondary to Osteoarthritis of the spine. RFA can be performed in the Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar areas. It can help treat various conditions like:
- Migraine Headaches
- Cancer Pain